No matter how you slice it, there are few things more damaging to your company than employee turnover. But when it comes to your top performers who have provided value on the front lines from day one, the loss can be felt even more acutely. Just take a look at these numbers from a Personnel Psychology study:


The top five percent of your workforce produces 26 percent of your organization's total output.


Your best performers can deliver up to 400 percent more productivity than colleagues who are average performers.

There's more at stake than your bottom line, though. With client and customer relationships, business continuity, employer branding and workforce morale on the line, you simply can't afford to let your biggest superstars walk out the door.

With that said, here are six things you need to start doing today to keep those high performers on board.


keep them engaged

With such a strong job market and more jobs available than there are workers to fill them, you better believe that your top performers are highly marketable passive candidates. 

But are they actually passive? A study by Gartner found that 39 percent of top-performing employees are actively looking for a new job, the latest figure in a 15-month increase in the number of high performers looking for greener pastures.

So to keep your top talent on board for the long haul, be sure they're actively engaged in their work — and that they find their work to be adding meaningful value to your operations. Consider tapping them to lead mission-critical initiatives, such as: 

  • expanding sales and marketing efforts into new territories 
  • developing new workflows that drive efficiency on the manufacturing floors
  • scoping emerging tools and technologies that will reduce the volume of manual processes in accounting and finance

Your best performers are intelligent and driven, so it's vital to keep their jobs interesting and give them avenues to flex their leadership muscles.


recognize their achievements

For those who consistently deliver, there's nothing worse than not receiving the recognition they deserve. And how do your high-performing employees want to be rewarded? According to a Harvard Business Review study, compensation, bonuses and recognition from management all placed in the top 10.

military medal

to keep these top performers on their game, you'll want to go above and beyond a thank-you email or quarterly awards.

So let's assume that you're already checking all the boxes when it comes to:

  • compensation
  • benefits, including medical insurance, vacation time and paid holidays
  • flexible work schedules
  • telecommuting/remote work opportunities (actually, these two are no longer considered perks but needs)

To keep these top performers on their game, you'll want to go above and beyond a thank-you email or quarterly awards. Instead, offer them opportunities aligned with their value to the company, such as: 

  • giving a presentation to your board about a recent project they orchestrated
  • leading a management retreat, which will position them as an important leader in your organization
  • offering opportunities for them to speak at conferences or industry events

Not only will you be recognizing their expertise, you'll also be giving them a platform to inspire their colleagues to drive success in their own roles.


pave the road to advancement

High-performing employees are naturally curious people, so they're not going to want to stay in the same position with the same roster of duties for long. Which makes it critical that they know what their roadmap for advancement is within your company — otherwise they'll need to look elsewhere for their next gig.

Meet with them early in their tenure to chart an internal career strategy that includes: 

  • distinct checkpoints for charting progress and performance
  • clear milestones for advancement, so they know exactly what they need to achieve to receive a promotion
  • opportunities for expanding skill sets through continuing education and professional development

If they know you're invested in their future, they'll feel more valued and committed to making your organization as successful as it can be.


provide a stellar onboarding experience

Your recruitment and onboarding process is the first impression your organization makes with a new hire, so it makes total sense that 70 percent of workers are more likely to stay with a company for more than three years if their application process was painless. From the UX of the application portal through to their new-hire onboarding program, make every step of the way a smart, seamless process, one that reflects the effectiveness of your business and its operations.


more than half of workers are likely to stay with a company with a good application process.

Although you'll want to ensure your employees have the training, coaching and support they need to gain those early wins and position themselves within the company, keep those lines of communication open well after the first couple of weeks of onboarding. Displaying your commitment to and investment in the employee with regular check-ins and opportunities to give feedback will go a long way to making them feel heard — and empowered to improve their work environment.


get to know them as individuals

Top performers are tuned in to how they work best and what motivates them to succeed. And while they're more likely to be self-directed, they also expect their managers to help them grow. So what are some first steps you should consider taking?

  • Meet with them one on one to develop a keen understanding of their career goals, how they stay motivated and what they need from you and the organization to be successful. 
  • Then, tailor your management style and workflows accordingly to give them the support, headspace and encouragement they need. 

For example, some top performers may prize autonomy, while others thrive on collaboration and regular face-to-face time. When it comes to maximizing their value in the workplace, be sure to play to their strengths as an individual. 


build a winning team

Yes, your top performers regularly eclipse their sales targets and go above and beyond whenever called upon, but is the rest of your team a winning operation? No one likes going down with a sinking ship, so make sure there's consistent performance across the board. 

Remember that underperforming employees are far more likely to stay in their roles longer and become actively disengaged, whereas great employees will leverage their track record and marketability to ultimately move their talents over to a better operation. So make sure everyone is contributing value in order to keep those top performers happy.

Also watch out for double-standards when it comes to recognizing performance and achievement. If an underperformer and a top performer are both getting a 10 percent raise this year, that could stoke disengagement and resentment in your star employee.

get the best – and keep the best 

As we've discussed here, recruiting top talent is one thing — and keeping them engaged, loyal and on board is another. But stepping up to improve problem areas like workplace culture and employee engagement can place you on the fast track to improving worker morale — while also keeping that bottom line healthy. If you're looking for a staffing partner with a nationwide network of top talent and the expertise to find the candidates who fit best within your culture, contact us to start working together today.